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formation of the e Union of Polish Patriots 5 in Moscow), this essential
difference would disappear.
The Polish Premier, Sikorski, at once answered Stalin's letter, but lie
could not conceal his doubts :
cc The Polish nations wants3 of course, to continue its friendly relations
with Soviet Russia and base them on an alliance directed against Germany.
It is, however, difficult for me not to be restraineds even, in face of such a
favourable declaration by Premier Stalin^ at the very moment whan the
Polish Ambassador has left Russia and the masses of Polish population in
the U.S.S.R. are left without the care and assistance of their Government.
cc Yet, in spite of this, and in spite of many other facts* the Polish
Government is ready to give a positive answer to any Soviet initiative which
will coincide with the interests of the Polish Republic as defined in our
common Declaration of December 4? 19415 and in my speech of May 4y 1943"
Stalin's letter did not change the Soviet policy one iota, it was obviously
a diverting move; ec we do not break with Poland, but only with the
Sikorski Government—we want a c sojuz ' with Poland.'3 The day
following Stalin's letter, on May 6, Andrey Vyshinsky, Assistant People's
Commissar for Foreign Affairs, made a long statement to the representa-
tives of the British and American press in Moscow which, as The Times
diplomatic correspondent remarked " was read with much surprise and
regret by most people in London." The Spectator described it clearly
as a " provocation." The Scotsman observed that:ce The Polish Govern-
ment and the Polish people have no need to defend themselves from any
suggestion of contact or understanding with Hitler. The Soviet Govern-
ment made that charge in an attempt to discredit the Poles; it comes
back in the light of history upon themselves."
London's correspondent of the New York Times,, Dannie!, went even
further, writing : " The statement by A. V. Vyshinsky, Soviet Vice-
Commissar of Foreign Affairs, came as a slap in the face to those in the
Polish Government in exile here, who thought they saw in Premier Stalin's
recent declaration . . . and Polish Premier W, Sikorski's courteous retort,
a basis for the resumption of Russo-Polish relations."
In his statement on May 6, 1943, Vyshinsky declared that it was " the
present Polish Government under the influence of pro-Hitlerite elements
within it who had provoked the decision of the Soviet Government to
suspend relations with the Polish Government." " The Polish Army,**
he asserted, " had left Russia because the Polish Government formally
refused to despatch its troops to the Soviet-German front." He stated
that " all allegations that the Soviet authorities hindered or hinder the
departure from the U.S.S.R. of Polish subjects, whose number in fact is
not great,* and also of the families of Polish military who left the Soviet
Union, are false."
* War and Working Class on October 24th31943>in opposition to this statement
declared that the " Polish Government does not represent the masses of Poles . . ,
in Russia." Thus the Soviet paper agreed with the Polish Government's convic-
tion that there were indeed masses of Poles in Russia, and not as Vyshinsky had